The Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) shopping extravaganza has just concluded, and as an online retailer, it’s time to assess the results. Beyond the initial surge of traffic and sales, it’s essential to delve into the finer details of your site’s performance. One thing we know for sure is that this shopping holiday brings traffic, and lots of it. While this usually means a nice influx in sales, the true value may actually be the ability to collect massive amounts of data that can inform the best integrations to make/test moving forward. In short, it’s all about the long game. To ensure your future success, ask yourself the following top 10 crucial questions:
1. What Was Our Conversion Rate?
Start by examining your conversion rates during the BFCM weekend. Across all industries, Elevar found that the median conversion rate on Black Friday (November 24, 2023) is 6.42%. This is the “golden metric”; don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. If this number is low, then buckle up; you have some investigating to do. But not to worry, this can be fixed!
2. Did We Effectively Manage Cart Abandonment?
Cart abandonment is a common challenge for online retailers. Analyze how many customers added items to their carts but didn’t complete the purchase. Did you consider implementing strategies to reduce cart abandonment, such as sending targeted emails or offering special promotions to encourage completion and bring potential buyers back to their full cart?
3. How Did Our Site Handle Increased Traffic?
The average page speed of a first-page Google result is 1.65 seconds. Additionally, “the probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds.” If you encountered challenges such as slow page loading times or site crashes, addressing these issues is crucial to ensuring a seamless shopping experience in the future. Consider whether autoscaling was part of your plan this year and whether it should have been implemented.
4. Were Our Promotions and Discounts Clearly Communicated?
Ensure that your promotions and discounts were clearly communicated to visitors. Clarity in messaging prevents confusion and fosters trust. Analyze whether customers easily understood the terms of your deals and discounts. One of the best things you can do post-holiday is a deep analysis of the content you put in front of your customers. Was it well planned? Data-driven? personalized?
5. What Were the Key Shopping Path Pages’ Performance?
Examine the performance of key shopping path pages such as product pages, category pages, and the checkout process. Identify any bottlenecks or friction points that may have deterred customers from completing their purchase. How silly would it be if you nailed the entire experience all the way through the funnel but there was something within the checkout that made potential customers click away from your page? It happens more than you would even believe.
6. Did Mobile Users Have a Smooth Experience?
With the increasing use of smartphones for online shopping, it’s vital to assess the mobile-friendliness of your site. A live stat from Adobe over the weekend showed that roughly 53% of online shoppers used a mobile device on Black Friday. Ensure that the mobile experience is seamless, with easy navigation and a responsive design to cater to the growing number of mobile shoppers. If your experience isn’t designed “mobile first” then you better have a good answer as to why that is!
7. Did We Leverage Data Effectively?
This may be the undercover MOST important question to ask yourself. Was your site tagged correctly to even collect the date you need to help solve these problems and track successes? If this was not done properly then your answer to the rest of these questions is simply a “guess”. If you find yourself in this position, stop what you are doing and make this priority #1 starting first thing tomorrow morning.
8. Did Your Data Play a Key Role?
For many retailers, years have gone into building up quality data around your customers’ needs and desires. It is true that AI and robust data tools are allowing for shorter runways in data collection but the reality is, making sure you have well defined, clean segments takes time and its all done for moments like this! So, how did you use that data to drive optimized and personalized experiences this season? Did you have the content ready to match your scalable personalization strategy? Did you use this lift in traffic to do some A/B testing to really nail down a direction that will help you for the rest of the year? Did you have the right tools set up to further refine your customer data?
9. What Feedback Have We Received?
Consider customer feedback, reviews, and social media comments. Positive feedback can highlight strengths to leverage, while negative feedback offers opportunities for improvement. Use this valuable information to refine your strategy for the next big shopping event.
10. Are We Prepared for Future Peaks?
Lastly, reflect on the overall preparedness of your online store for future peak periods. Consider scalability, security, and the implementation of lessons learned to ensure a smoother experience for both your team and customers in the next shopping spree.
In conclusion, the BFCM weekend serves as an excellent learning opportunity for online retailers. Data is being thrown at you by the truckload–literally. Our hope is that you didn’t miss the chance to collect, analyze and adapt. As a retailer you can recover from a poor “sales” holiday but you may never recover from a missed opportunity to make educated refinements for the next holiday rush. By asking these critical questions and analyzing the metrics, you can fine-tune your strategies, address weaknesses, and position your online store for even greater success in the future. Remember, if you need a partner to help, don’t hesitate to reach out to ITG.
E-commerce Growth Advisor and Guest Writer, Brandon brings over a decade of invaluable experience to the industry. Formerly the Vice President of Sales & Commercial Growth at Corra, Brandon’s expertise provides a unique and insightful perspective in navigating the dynamic landscape of e-commerce.